An Ohio State University football player announced his retirement from the sport on Thursday, citing mental health challenges that had pushed him to the brink of suicide.
Harry Miller, an offensive lineman for the Buckeyes, made the stunning disclosure in a lengthy Twitter posting, saying there was once a “dead man” functioning inside his massive 6-foot-4, 315-pound frame.
Miller said he revealed his suicidal intentions before this past season to Buckeyes coach Ryan Day, who he praised for connecting him with doctors and “I received the support I needed.”
“I am medically retiring,” wrote the mechanical engineering major. “I would not usually share such information. However, because I have played football, I am no longer afforded the privilege of privacy, so I will share my story briefly before more articles continue to ask, ‘What is wrong with Harry Miller?'”
The native of Buford, Georgia had been projected as a starter for this past 2021 season but appeared in only two games.
“After a few weeks, I tried my luck with football once again, with scars on my wrists and throat,” Miller wrote. “Maybe the scars were hard to see with my wrists taped up. Maybe it was hard to see the scars through the bright colors of the television.”
He continued: “There was a dead man on the television set, but nobody knew it.”
Without the help of Day and others at OSU, Miller said he wouldn’t have been posting on Thursday: “If not for him and the staff, my words would not be a reflection. They would be evidence in a post-mortem.”
The OSU football player’s retirement from the sport came less than two weeks since the suicide of Stanford goalkeeper Katie Meyer.
“We so often put athletes on this pedestal, we’re inspired by them and we see them as strong and can get through so much,” Dave told NBC News on Friday.
“So when someone like this says, ‘Hey I’m struggling and even if you couldn’t see it, I was in a really tough spot and I’m going to do something about it,’ I think that opens up the possibilities for other people.”
And former NFL linebacker and OSU alumnus Bobby Carpenter, his voice cracking with emotion, thanked Miller on Friday for going public with his mental health struggles.
“A lot of guys, especially combative athletes, battle things internally all the time,” said Carpenter, now a Columbus radio host. “Those same demons inside of you also kind of control you and do some things off the field.”
He added: “Harry, you did what was best for you. It took some soul searching. I guarantee you it was a very, very difficult decision. And so for that sir, I tip my cap and I salute you.”
Miller urged anyone with mental health issues to seek help and reject mocking tropes about the alleged “softening” his Generation Z.
“I had seen the age-old adage of how our generation was softening by the second, but I can tell you my skin was tough,” he wrote. “It had to be. But it was not tougher than the sharp metal of my box cutter.”
Miller acknowledged the platform he has to shine a light on the darkness brought by mental health challenges.
“And I saw how easy it was for people to dismiss others by talking about how they were just a dumb, college kid who didn’t know anything,” wrote Miller, an Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
“But luckily, I am a student in the College of Engineering, and I have a 4.0 and whatever accolades you might require, so maybe if somebody’s hurt can be taken seriously for once, it can be mine. And maybe I can vouch for all the other people who hurt but are not taken seriously because, for some reason, pain must have pre-requisites.”
He ended his statement with the phone number (800) 273-8255, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and the Latin motto dum spiro spero, which translates to, “While I breathe, I hope.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.